Showing posts with label Aaron Allston. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Aaron Allston. Show all posts

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Cloudia & Rex by Ulises Farinas, Erick Freitas, Daniel Irizarri

Rating: WORTHY!

This is from an advance review copy for which I thank the publisher.

This was a great story which I really enjoyed, although I have to say it was a bit confusing at times. The art was lovely and the story was different from the usual fare. I always appreciate that! For one thing, it presented African American females as protagonists. It was nice to see strong female characters of color, who are far too few in comic books, and strong, independent females who are equally rare. I would not recommend a graphic novel if that was all it had to offer, but I would sure be tempted! Fortunately this offered much more.

In the story, two young girls, the eponymous Cloudia and Rex, and their mother run into ancient gods who are seeking safety which can only be found in the mortal world. An antagonist named Tohil wishes to destroy those same gods and is hot on their heels.

Somehow the gods end-up being downloaded into Cloudia's phone, and some of their power transfers over to the girls. Rex is somewhat bratty, but she finds she can change into an assortment of animals. It's amusing and interesting to see what she does with that. Cloudia is a bit strident, but maybe she has reason when her life is screwed-up so badly and unexpectedly.

Daniel Irizarri's coloring is bold and pervasive, and it really stands out from the comic. It's almost overwhelming, actually, but overall the story was entertaining and the characters were fun, I recommend this one.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

X-Wing Mercy Kill by Aaron Allston

Title: X-Wing Mercy Kill
Author: Aaron Allston
Publisher: Random House
Rating: WARTY!

If it's Christmas Eve, then it must be an X day! I freely admit right up front that I picked this only because I was running out of time and couldn't find anything else starting with X that was both readily available and suitable for my purposes, and even this one is stretching it! Does the title file under 'S' for Star wars? Under 'X' for X-Wing? Or under 'M' for Mercy Kill? I chose to file it under 'X' for very selfish reasons)!), but this is not the kind of novel I'd normally read, and the confirmation of "Why?" came very quickly.

The author at least has the smarts to put the prologue into chapter one so kudos for that. Prologues are antiquated. The problem is that just bodily moving it into chapter one doesn't quite do the necessary. I don't know why authors don't simply incorporate the content of what would have been the prologue into the body of the text - not as a dead, static, boring, action-stopping flashback in the middle of a sequence, or as a tedious info-dump, but as a slowly seeping motif or attitude, or whatever, right into the story itself.

But we'll let that go because the 31 years ago segment wasn't the problem for me per se. The first problem was that an admiral was on a covert mission. Seriously? No, admirals and generals do not go on covert missions - except, of course, in Star Trek and Star Wars where they do it to a thoroughly inappropriate level, which is one of my big beefs there.

Star Trek captains going down to the planet on every single mission? BS. I kept hoping the writers would get this with every new series they put out, but they never did - it was always the Mary Sue to perfection of the extreme idealism, always right, ultra-noble, self-sacrificing, tooth-ache of a captain. I kept hoping that one Star Trek series would come out where it was all about the crew, and the captain was merely an auxiliary figure if he/she appeared at all, but it never was. Ho-hum.

So it was this kind of thing that's the problem here in this novel, too. In addition to that, there's the usual problem with these kinds of novels: "the author forgets he has hi-tech" conundrum. We're in an advanced technology, interstellar spaceflight society, with very advanced AIs, and they still have iPads (called datapads, to make them seem cool). BS on that, too! At one point there's a sniper talking about making a really difficult shot - and this is in that same advanced society. The problem is that we have drones now. They even have intelligent drones in that society - yet there's still a need for snipers making impossible shots instead of mini-drones doing it? I call BS on that, too.

That, my friends, is far too much BS for one chapter. It wasn't one thing, but a host of things of this nature which so quickly turned me off this story that I couldn't get beyond that first chapter. Your mileage may differ, but all I got was a frequent reminder that I don't read this kind of novel for a very good reason. I love sci-fi, but I need it to be a lot smarter than this is.